Recently, I was asked a very insightful question by a young Malaysian Shaman, who seemed to be the perfect embodiment of peaceful tranquility. Jo had just overseen my spiritual voyage to the past through a wonderfully soothing and mind-expanding regression therapy session. After traversing backwards in time through my present incarnation, I was instructed to choose a card at random from a shuffled deck, and soon after, a question was put forward. This question forced me to look deeper within myself and consider my journey:

“Do you enjoy being alone?”

I sat focusing on the image of a withered old man, walking towards a bright light in the distance, and on the word aloneness printed in clear white font on the bottom of the card.

I don’t know why I was drawn to that card, but when I turned it over, I immediately related it to my own situation—that of a man on a journey. But the word troubled me a little. I think it’s something a lot of us fear: the thought of being alone.

I sat pondering her probing question. Although I am extremely close with my family and friends, I feel that I have flourished as a result of departing the shores of my beloved home three years ago and spending some time in (relative) solitude as a result. I don’t just enjoy alone time nowadays—I celebrate it. I’m not a complete recluse, don’t get me wrong. I have a strong support network, which I deeply value. But I do feel as though I thrive in isolation.

Here are three reasons why I believe we all should embrace solitude from time to time.

1. Solitude is healthy

The manic nature of the world we live in can be overwhelming. It is crucial for our health and well-being that we are able to distance ourselves from the madness of modern society on a regular basis. By seeking out some alone time throughout the day, we allow ourselves the opportunity to press the reset button. Armed with a fresh new perspective, we re-enter the world feeling reinvigorated and rejuvenated—it’s almost like a rebirth.

2. Solitude is productive

At times, when we are in the thick of the rat race, our work is often influenced by those around us and the hectic environment in which we exist. By acquiring some alone time in the day to look deep within, to ask questions of ourselves, and to create, we ensure that the work produced bears significance. By delving even deeper, we can figure out what it is we actually want to do.

To immerse ourselves in meaningful work, which lights the fire within, is to live purposefully. We thrive on the work that feeds our soul and resonates through to our core. Seek out solitude, and find out what it is that you were born to create.

3. Solitude is empowering

As we allow ourselves to enjoy the comfort of those solitary moments and as we get acquainted with our true selves, we gradually become more assured and more self-aware. Don’t be surprised if you start to consider the journey you are on, the direction in which you are headed, and the destination at which you wish to find yourself.

We can take comfort and assurance from the fact that we were able to put ourselves first, which is not only crucial for real growth but which also requires great courage. People may call it selfish, but this could not be further from the truth. Seeking out the empowering energy solitude provides is the ultimate selfless act because it benefits everyone with whom we come into contact thereafter.

For myself, to answer Jo’s exploratory question about whether I enjoy being alone, well, the word enjoy doesn’t cover it. I treasure the moments I can be alone. I pursue solitude, and I think we should all do the same.

By investing in some form of alone time each day, we are encouraging ourselves to look inward, regroup, and return to center in a way that’s deeply meditative and relaxing. Seek out solitary occasions throughout the day, revel in their power, and allow mind and body to peacefully reconnect with the soul.

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  • Paul Jones

    Thanks Patrick ~:)

  • bfan

    Here’s the question I always have and am never sure about: does “solitude” include vegging out to the TV? I was raised on TV and find without a bit everyday I don’t feel rested or refreshed, but I don’t feel like it gives me anything creative. It’s more like sugar, feels great while it happens but later I feel like I’ve wasted my time with something that probably isn’t good for me. For those of us who are inclined to come home, dump stuff and plop onto the couch, would you say that is finding solitude or not?

  • Linda Jackson

    Having left the full time workforce, I really was uncomfortable with being alone most of the day. Four years later I love it and crave it.I actually avoid overly busy and noisy places these days. It has given me the time to explore new interests such as photography, digital media and spending time in nature. I am so much happier since I left my noisy workplace. There were too many people and distractions for this introvert. Having to cope in such an environment was highly stressful and caused me to get sick. Stress = distress.

  • Junie

    Thanks for this piece. I was wondering though, can solitude become too much?